With the spring semester completed, officials in the Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College (NEO) Athletic Department are counting their successes in a banner year for the program. NEO seeks to continue its athletic success as the college nears its 100th year in operation. Thirty-year veteran and outgoing Athletic Director Dale Patterson is excited by NEO’s athletic future “We are happy and excited about a very successful 2017-18, but success does not just happen. Our success is due to outstanding coaches, great support from NEO administration, faculty, staff, and the Miami community, as well as the NEO Tradition of excellence,” said Patterson. “I look forward to watching and supporting our great coaching staff as they continue the NEO Athletic Tradition.”
Among the athletic accomplishments during the 2017-18 school year, Coach Clay Patterson snapped a fourteen-year drought and led the Golden Norse Football Team to a Southwest Junior College Football Conference Championship. Running Back Darwin Thompson picked up the Conference Offensive MVP Award and eight players were named to the All-Conference First Team. Coach Patterson was also recognized as the Conference Coach of the Year. Newly named Head Coach Zach Allen is preparing to continue the program’s success during the 2018-19 year. After winning an individual national wrestling championship last year, sophomore Wyatt Jordan said his only regret was that the wrestlers didn’t win a team championship as well.
This year, the NEO Wrestling Team fixed Jordan’s regret by bringing home their third national team championship in five years. Coach Joe Renfro was named the National Coach of the Year and Boo Dryden earned the award for the most falls at the national tournament. Along with the team success, seven wrestlers were named Academic All-Americans for the year.
The Lady Norse Softball Team kept racking up wins, finishing with a 41-16 record. NEO finished third in the district tournament and Coach Eric Iverson surpassed 1,000 career wins, making him the only two-year women’s coach in Oklahoma to earn the achievement. Along with the success of softball, the Golden Norse Baseball team continues to produce high quality players. With players currently in the major leagues, Coach Roger Ward sent Carl Rigney Award Winner Matthew Gaskins to Oral Roberts University, Jacob Shultz to the Louisiana Lafayette, and Troy Gagan to Missouri Southern State University.
The Lady Norse Basketball team earned their third Region 2 Championship in three years and have now accumulated five conference championships in a row. Led by District and Regional Coach of the Year Jim Rowland, the Lady Norse are on a 46-game home winning streak. Along with the team success, Bethy Mununga was named an All-American and Region 2 Player of the Year, and Mariam Gnanou picked up All-Region honors. The Golden Norsemen Basketball program under exiting Coach Dustin Grover placed second in the region this year. Kyle Lukasiewicz was named an All-Region player, with David Thornton and Raven Moody being named to the All-Conference team. Coach Jeremy Jackson now takes over as head coach as Grover transitions to the Assistant Vice President of Academic Affairs.
NEO Volleyball under Coach Iverson has been a consistent presence at the national tournament qualification and this year was no exception. Along with the tournament berth, the volleyball team were the District O Champions. As the younger team matures, Coach Iverson seeks continued dominance of the district.
Norse Soccer has more than just on-field success to be excited about, as NEO officials broke ground on the new soccer locker facility during the annual Founders’ Day. The Golden Norse Team under Coach John Parrigon finished second at the regional tournament, with Jack Holmes and Quinten Darras being selection as First Team All-Region. The Golden Norse also had four players picked for the All-Tournament team. The Lady Norse under Coach Lisa Bell had standout individuals as well, with Ashya Butler picking up All-Region Honors and Chloe Shipway being selected for the All-Tournament team and breaking the record for career assists.
Along with the sports teams, NEO Agriculture athletes have had a year of success, with the horse judging team under Coach Amanda Jones closing their season as the Championship Team at the American Quarter Horse Association World Show. The Livestock judging team under Coach Taylor Graham also made its mark, finishing in the top ten of every event this season. The Equestrian team, also coached by Amanda Jones, followed up last year’s national championship by winning the regional team championship and sending four competitors to the national show. Kolby Ungeheuer’s Rodeo team also had a strong finish, winning the SWOSU Rodeo and qualifying Joshua Pool to compete at the College National Finals Rodeo during June. Both Ag judging and Ag riding programs are enhancing the prestige of NEO and NEO Athletics. NEO Athletics is now actively recruiting student-athletes for the 2018-19 seasons. Under the new leadership of Coach Joe Renfro and that continued dedication of coaches and athletes, NEO is sure to have and outstanding athletic year. For more information on the NEO Athletics, contact Nancy Roberts at Nancy.Roberts@neo.edu or 918-540-6327.